How The Sixers Can Use The Al Horford Trade Exception
The last remnants of Big Al.
Adam Aaronson, whose legal name is Sixers Adam (@SixersAdam on Twitter), covers the Sixers for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez. He has been legally banned from covering the team in person, and when that ban was set to be lifted, Covid-19 struck. He believes cantaloupe is the best food in existence, and is brought to you by the Official Realtor of The Process, Adam Ksebe.
When the Sixers traded Al Horford and a first- and second-round pick for Danny Green last offseason, they made a significant roster upgrade going from Horford -- a negative-value asset due to his poor fit and hefty price tag -- to Green, a cost-effective 3&D wing who had a solid year with the Sixers.
But when they made that trade, there was one more appeal: the Sixers generated an $8.2 million trade exception that they can use to add talent.
In December, I speculated as to who they could absorb with the TPE. As a reminder, here are the rules regarding trade exceptions:
“In the trade, the Sixers created an $8.2M trade exception. What that means is they, without sending out any players, are allowed to absorb up to $8.2M in a trade. They can’t combine the $8.2M with the salary of someone under contract, though. Think of it as a portal of sorts, one with which the Sixers can eat up to that $8.2M figure.”
Fast forward several months, and we know the Sixers chose to not use the TPE during the season. Trade exceptions last for an entire calendar year, though, so they have options this offseason.
Let’s explore a few options, shall we?
JaMychal Green, Denver Nuggets ($7.9 million)
Green is a longtime favorite of mine, a very valuable big man who can play the four or five, protect the rim and space the floor as a shooter.
Green was an integral part of Denver’s rotation this season, but they find themselves in a financial bind: with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray’s sizeable contracts being joined by Aaron Gordon’s large cap hit, and with Will Barton up for a new deal, if Green picks up his $7.9 million player option, a Denver team that has never been shy about wanting to avoid the luxury tax could look to ship Green out.
Adding Green would not only give the Sixers stability at the four that Mike Scott failed to provide, but it would give them a solid option at the five, one who especially makes sense if Ben Simmons is still on the roster at the start of the season.
DJ Augustin, Houston Rockets ($7.0 million, $6.6 million in 2022-23)
My guess is the Sixers will look for a wing or a big if they choose to use the Horford TPE, but Augustin has long felt like an easy fit with the Sixers. If the Sixers decide to move on from George Hill or perhaps swing a trade involving a certain point guard, all of a sudden minutes could open up for a veteran sniper who is at least competent as a ball-handler.
Augustin also has only $333 thousand guaranteed in the final year of his deal, so the Sixers would easily be able to get out from under the money if they feel some buyer’s remorse.
Danuel House, Houston Rockets ($3.8 million)
Another Houston Rocket, House is a quintessential two-way wing who can come off the bench for a contending team. One of Daryl Morey’s better findings over the last few years, House has a lightning-quick trigger and provides a sturdy presence on the defensive end.
Depending on what happens with Danny Green in free agency, House could even contend for a starting spot under certain circumstances.
Houston will not give away a useful two-way wing for free, but as they enter a rebuild, it shouldn’t be impossible for Morey and his former staffers to strike a deal that makes sense for both sides.